Category Archive: History

Root Diggers and Herb Gatherers: The Rise and Decline of the Botanical Drug Industry in Southern Appalachia

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So I have polished off the old dissertation: “Root Diggers and Herb Gatherers: The Rise and Decline of the Botanical Drug Industry in Southern Appalachia.”  I’m sure the title does not do it… Continue reading

Tapping Into History With Maps: Maple Sugaring in Southern Appalachia

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This map tells a fascinating story: the rise and fall of the maple sugar industry.  Due to effective branding by the modern industry, most people associate maple sugar and maple syrup with Vermont,… Continue reading

The Shaker connection: How Appalachian plants helped create Big Pharma

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  In the fall of 1850, an enterprising young merchant named Calvin J. Cowles left his home outside of Wilkesboro, North Carolina, and headed north with his brother, Josiah, with a most unusual… Continue reading

Happy New Year and Welcome Back!

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I would like to apologize to our readers for being AWOL these past several months.  We’ve had some big changes that have taken our attention and energy.  Daniel got a job at the… Continue reading

David Greer, Hermit of Bald Mountain: A Romantic Alternative to the “Wild Man” Myth

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By Luke Manget Last week I wrote about how popular perceptions of the “wild man of the woods” in the late nineteenth century led to something of a round-up of human forest dwellers… Continue reading

Death of a Sang Digger and the Fate of the Commons

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By Luke Manget   On July 28, 1908, a Mrs. Collins appeared at the Lee County, VA, courthouse with a shocking and peculiar letter. The letter relayed third-hand news that her husband had… Continue reading

In the Footsteps of Herb Diggers

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By Luke Manget   Rarely do I get the opportunity to do field work as a historian. Most of my hours are spent in front of a book or a computer, but last… Continue reading

The Wild and the Cultivated: Is there really a difference?

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By Luke Manget The Turk’s Cap Lily is one of the southern Appalachian Mountains’ true wildflower jewels, but does our perception of its beauty depend upon its state of wildness?  In other words, if this photo… Continue reading